Sample I-Search (1) - Kim Groninga Native American and...

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Kim Groninga Native American and Latino/a Literature Dr. Vince Gotera May 3, 2006 1) What I wanted to learn about Latino literature I feel a connection with Latino people. Not a kinship, but an understanding or admiration or something. I know my freckled face didn’t earn it——not in all respects. It could have something to do with the fact that I was formed, birthday to birthday, in as blue- collar a family as any Latino people any neighbor kid could name. Or maybe this connection stems from the ten days I spent ankle-deep in the mud of Honduras, making sand, packing bricks, digging trenches. There was something there; it made me cry and I couldn’t name the reason. In Dr. Lounsberry’s Introduction to Graduate Studies class, I made a Honduran poet, Roberto Sosa, the focus of my semester’s research. I fell in love with the lines of his poetry——Spanish and English, side by side. I love the Spanish language. If I could pour it over ice cream and eat it, I would. For all these reasons, I was really excited about taking this half of the class in Latino literature. What did I want to learn? Anything. I think if I answered this question three months ago I would have said that I would like to learn about poets and poems and, yes, other genres, and really anything that could put me more in touch with Latino culture. I wanted to learn about the language, too. I wanted to see how the Spanish language would come through the English, what would happen to Sample I-Search
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Groninga, 2 English when it became a second language in the hands of those whose first language was Spanish. I have been very lucky to teach international students at Wartburg and have witnessed a wonderful, defamiliarizing (for me) use of English as it is filtered through students whose first languages are not English. Their writing is often poetic. Last semester, a Japanese student wrote in a journal about going to a basketball game: “Time stood without moving for the long arc of orange ball.” I’ve never forgotten this phrase. In this class, I wanted to see how the English/Spanish combination would play out——especially in the hands of people who have dedicated their lives to language. I wanted to see what completely new work could arise from the combination in these capable and called hands. I also wanted to learn how the Latino experience would come through in images and other elements of craft, especially in poetry.
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